Friday, March 16, 2018

Dropping Eggs for Jesus

It’s Easter!  The Resurrection, a time to celebrate the EMPTY TOMB, to rejoice that our Lord Jesus is not dead, HE’S ALIVE.   Easter, a time to DROP EGGS from a helicopter!


Yes, several of my pastor friends are dropping candy-filled eggs from the skies in about a week.  So far the largest amount of eggs I’ve heard that will be dropped is 20,000.  The purpose of the egg drop is so kids in the city/town will have a fun event and hear the resurrection story and be introduced to the church.

As I heard and read about this truly American Christian extravaganza my mind went back to my early years in Kenya as a church planter.  My ministry experience prior to serving in Africa was a pastor in Texas.  We had all kinds of gimmicks in the ‘70’s for outreach, from dunking the pastor in a water tank to enticing kids to get on our church bus and get a toy (sounds a bit creepy these days).  Of course, we’ve bribing teen-agers for yeas to come to church through the allure of pizza (and no, extra thick cheese crust and anchovies is not the equivalent of five loaves and two fishes).  I’m not knocking egg drops; it’s very creative and very American.

Forty years ago I took this gimmick mindset to Kenya and said to the pastors one day, “Let’s have a special Sunday and call it Friend Day.  Those who bring five or more friends will get a small Bible.  If they bring ten or more friends they will get a big Bible.”

The Kenyan brothers looked at me like I just greeted them with my left hand.

“Why would we give people a prize to bring someone to church,” they asked?

Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer them and, a bit embarrassed.  Hidden in their answer to me was, “Isn’t the reason we would bring our friends to church is so they can hear the Gospel and maybe receive Christ as their Savior?”

What that conversation taught me, and many more throughout the years, was first, someone working cross-culturally should study and understand the host culture before they do anything (that’s why I teach missionary anthropology, a class I didn’t have four decades ago).  Second, don’t be quick to use your home culture as a model for methods of outreach. (Those going on short-term trips, are you listening?)

Kenyans, like many people in the world, are more relational than task oriented.  People are the goal, not the event.  Africans will sit for hours just visiting.  They are not in a hurry to get to church and they sure aren’t in a hurry to go home after the final amen.  Attending services on Sunday is usually an all day affair.

This Easter I will be worshipping the risen, living Savior in West Pokot.  No candy-filled eggs will be dropped but it will be a great day to be with friends, lots of singing and dancing.  Not only will we celebrate His resurrection, but also we will experience the miraculous…of seeing people once dead in their sins come to life, eternal life, in Christ.  I promise you, it will be more spectacular than a helicopter egg drop!

1 comment:

Santiago Albuja said...

Greetings Richard,

Interesting theme to talk about. For me, coming from a South American country, the idea of Easter Bunny or Easter Egg Hunt is something that was new for me. We don't celebrate Easter in that way, even more if we think that our Hispanic Countries has an Spanish Catholic background.

I read the other day the idea of Eggs and Bunnies came from North Europe from a myth that started in French... So, for us, being conquered by Spain, we didn't have such a tradition while I was growing.

Nevertheless, I think the everything we could do to reach out would depends on the culture where you live, as you said.

As First Generation Hispanics immigrant here in States we are not much related with Eggs and Bunnies... But, our kids are now... There is where ideas like that could be use to reach others for Christ.

Missions always would be an interesting topic to talk about... And how to use tools to reach people are a challenge in this amazing multicultural world...

Blessigns My Dear Friend.